Informations and abstract
Keywords: trading in influence, lobbying, corruption
Lobbying is a natural component of the democratic process and can contribute to a qualitative improvement in public decisions. At the same time, it is necessary to counteract the risks of undue influence, an objective that would first require reasonable regulation of the activity of interest groups at all levels of public decision-making. However, at present the Italian regulatory framework is completely unbalanced on the volet pénal, as revealed by the crime of trading in influence (Art. 346-bis of Criminal Code), introduced by l. no. 190/2012 and significantly expanded by l. no. 3/2019. With that reform, some of the shortcomings of the previous law regime have been overcome, but the problem of the lack of precision of the offence (Art. 25(2) Const.) and of foreseeability of judicial decisions (Art. 7 ECHR), in particular with respect to the notion of “unlawful mediationµ, has been further aggravated. Such an evanescent type of offence has generated a myriad of interpretative questions. A sector of the Supreme Court is carrying out a para-legislative function but the matter remains characterised by many inconsistencies and poor effectiveness.